DV Mark DV40 212

February 10, 2012

For a big combo sound, few things beat a 2x12 Fender Pro or Twin Reverb, or a Vox AC30 or AC50. Unfortunately, hauling these beasts around and hustling them in and out of a car trunk can be a chore. That’s why the first thing I noticed about the DV40 212 was its weight: at less than 37 lbs, it’s a little over half the heft of an AC30. DV Mark accomplishes this by using Italian poplar for the cabinets (which is lighter than most woods) and installing B&C Neodymium- magnet speakers, which are significantly lighter than speakers with alnico or ceramic magnets. The result shaves off more pounds than Jenny Craig.

The back-saving properties of this EL34- powered combo are just the beginning of its special features. Do you prefer 6L6 or 6V6 power tubes? Just pop them in. The amp will bias them and automatically rebias as needed to compensate for uneven wear. You can also set the bias to High for a more present sound, or Low to preserve tube life. Another bit of new DV Mark technology is a service port that connects to a computer interface (not included) so you or a tech can monitor the bias, plate voltage, and condition of the tubes.

Many 2x12 combos are too loud for some gigs, and the DV40 solves this problem via its Continuous Power Control (CPC). In pentode mode, this feature lets you vary the amp’s power from the full 40 watts (class AB) incrementally down to 1 watt (class A), or from 15 watts (class AB) to one-half watt (class A) in triode mode. This gave me a wide range of volume options—from neighbor- friendly to front-row assault—without significantly altering the tone. As you might expect, though, the sound opens up a bit more in the higher-wattage modes.

The top panel of the DV40 212; Note the Continuous Power Control on the far right.
With the CPC full up, the DV40 delivered a warm, clean sound, similar to the Galileo’s, with plenty of headroom. Either channel can be used for lead or rhythm with slightly different voicings. The overdrive sound was smooth and creamy, and it cleaned up easily when I backed off my guitar’s volume. The footswitchable gain boost is a handy feature. With the gain set low and the volume turned up, it works as a volume boost. At higher gain settings, especially with the CPC set to low power, it boosts gain. As with the Galileo 15, the DV40 doesn’t sound particularly like any other amp, but its open, neutral voice readily accommodates whatever guitar and/or pedal you run into it.

The B&C speakers sound great, but the instantaneous attack associated with Neo speakers can take some getting used to. I also tested the DV40 through a custom 1x12 cab sporting an Eminence Texas Heat ceramic-magnet speaker, which yielded an equally rich, albeit smaller, sound with a more traditional feel.

The DV40 212 is a must to audition if you are tired of hauling that Twin or AC30, but it’s also worth a look for anyone seeking a versatile combo that’s suitable for any musical genre short of all-out metal. Note too that the DV Mark 40-watt sound is available in a single-channel format with the Little 40 L34 and Little 40 L6 heads, both of which have all of the other goodies found in the combo version.

More from this Roundup:

DV Mark Galileo 15, DV40 212, and Bad Boy 120
Bad Boy 120
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